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March 27, 1992 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-27

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01

Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Friday, March 27,1992
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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
764 - 0552

Editor in Chief
MATHI'EW D. RENNIE
Opinion Editors
YAEL CITRO
GEOFFREY EARLE
AMITAVA MAZUMDAR

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
MSA, why not fight to the death?

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If the fight that broke out in the Michigan Student
Assembly chambers Tuesday night symbolizes
anything, it is that the representatives and the
parties of MSA have completely lost touch with
their student constituents and take themselves en-
tirely too seriously. All it took was one disgruntled
constituent to set a handful of members literally at
each other's throats. Unfortunately, neither the
Progressive Party, nor the Conservative Coalition
(CC), has fully acknowledged that the Assembly
will not accomplish anything or command one iota
of respect from students until these displays of
infantile, pseudo-national politics cease. For this
reason, the Daily cannot endorse either of the two
major parties or either of the two presidential
candidates.
During interviews with the candidates, and at
Wednesday night's debate, it became clear that
Ede Fox is a throw-back to the discredited admin-
istration of Jennifer Van Valey. Worse yet, Fox
does not acknowledge the weaknesses of her pre-
decessors.
She says without hesitation that she feels MSA
has a responsibility to take stances on world issues,
which is too often done at the expense of student
needs. She fails to recognize the inherent conflict
between representing student views and pushing
her party's political agenda. More disturbing, Fox
favors a student-drafted speech code to restrict
what she deems to be offensive speech.
Race is central to her party's platform, but Fox
has not voiced an articulate vision of the problems
facing minorities on campus or even suggested
solutions. Rather, Fox and the Progressive Party

are content to throw the "racist" label at their
opponents. This only heats up the divisive and
hostile politics already rampant in MSA, while
doing little to help minority students or members
of the University community.
Scott Gast, her opponent, speaks more in terms
serving students - which should be MSA's pri-
mary role. But Gast has failed to map out any sort
of a vision for what those services should be.
Moreover, he comes from a party who's record on
student services is abysmal.
The Conservative Coalition has axed the bud-
get of one student service, the Ann Arbor Tenants'
Union, and has refused to voice protest as the
administration made arbitrary decisions restrict-
ing the Union policy and deputizing the University
police force. These decisions called for action, not
compromise and rubber stamps, and CC let stu-
dents down. The centerpiece of Gast's campaign
seems to be the 24-hour library, something CC has
already provided, though certainly not on its own.
Most students would probably prefer listening to
what Gast intends to do for students in the coming
year rather than listening to a recycled campaign.
Somebody should offer students an alternative
- a party without reactionary politics that has its
ego and its judgment grounded. Unfortunately,
that option does not exist between the two presi-
dential candidates, and that option does not exist in
either party. Students deserve to have more than a
choice of the lesser of two evils when voting for
representation. We suggest they write-inDesmond
Howard. Then maybe he would stick around for
another year.

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Reform must begin at party level

T he Michigan Student Assembly, as every stu-
dent knows, has for years been an embarrass-
ment to the student body. The cause of this weak-
ness is the ruinous two-party system which grips
MSA and has prevented the assembly from ad-
dressing important student concerns.
The left-wing of the Assembly has run under
many different names: Action!, Common Sense.,
and now the Progressive Party. What has not
changed is the overall goals which this group has
pursued over the years. The left-wing of MSAsees
the assembly not as a medium by which to serve the
student population as a whole but as a vehicle to
advance its particular ideology.
Thus, left-wing parties have attempted to
derecognize student groups which fail to meet its
political criteria, issue foreign policy statements,
and send fact-finding missions overseas. Far worse
than a mere waste of student money, these actions
represent an attempt to establish liberal views as
the official MSA ideology. Furthermore, leftist
administrations have dolled out money to various
campus organizations in a random and irrespon-
sible manner, with total disregard for the budget.
Records were not kept, and massive deficit rolled
up.
The opposition has been the Conservative Coa-
lition (CC). Its platform consists entirely of pre-
venting the left from achieving its often ignoble
goals. Still, its platform is entirely reactionary. CC
has no positive vision for MSA other than stopping

their bitter rivals.
As a result, when the CC is in power, the MSA
is effectively neutered. Students have no coherent
or effective voice to address crucial campus issues
such as deputization, curriculum reform and the
Union access policy.
While CC has preserved freedom of speech
within the assembly, it fails completely as an
advocate for students' rights.
Under the current two-party system, indepen-
dent candidates with fresh new ideas are routinely
crushed by the superior organizational and finan-
cial resources ofthe two giants. Independentthought
and action is stifled. Block voting and childish
political infighting prevail.
Over the past few years, several promising
candidates have run independently or in third par-
ties, hoping to end the establishment parties' grip
on power. The Abolitionists ran on a free speech
platform in 1989-90, and last spring several liber-
als formed Emphasizing Student Power (ESP).
Both were soundly defeated. Promising Moose
candidate Robert Van Houweling was forced to
withdraw as a presidential candidate due to lack of
funds.
What this University needs is anew MSAorder.
Representatives on the left must abandon their
campaign to turn the Assembly into a political tool.
Conservatives, in turn, must begin to look at MSA
as a potential positive force for student empower-
ment.

The other Clinton
To the Daily:
Hillary Clinton for President.
Evan Albert
LSA senior
Abstinence
To the Daily:
I was outraged by the pre-
sumptuousness of the Daily's
editorial ("Condoms in the
classrooms," 3/18/92) on "safe
sex" (which I will henceforth refer
to as "safer sex" since the idea
that it is "safe" is a lie.)
We who preach abstinence
may not know how to talk a date
into bed or put on a condom, but
we do know one thing: self-
control!
You call emphasis on absti-
nence a "fundamental misunder-
standing about the behavior of
young people." But the under-
standing you are advocating is that
we are no more than dogs in heat
and that we can control our sexual
activity no more than we can our
breathing.
By emphasizing abstinence,
school districts are not pretending
that sex and AIDSdo not exist.
They are simply presenting it as a
viable alternative. By saying that
"preaching abstinence is not a
viable solution," you are insinuat-
ing that abstinence is not a viable
alternative to "safer sex," and you
are hence verbally ostracizing
those of us who choose to abstain
from promiscuous sex.
At least we agree that the
problem of AIDS must be
addressed. But the answer is not to
stop presenting abstinence as an
acceptable option simply because
you think kids are going to have
sex anyway.
If any change should be made
in the curriculum of our schools, it
is to that of a balanced treatment
of abstinence and "safer sex."
Howard Scully
LSA junior

To the Daily:
In your editorial ("Politicos on
the Moose," 3/18/92) you make
some valid points about the
necessity of a third party to
represent students' concerns.
However, we would like to
clarify some points.
While it is true that the
presidential and vice-presidential
candidates have dropped out, the
Michigan Moose Party is still
running its slate of candidates for
representative positions, includ-
ing a full slate of the College of
Engineering candidates.
We are planning, through
these elections, to get our foot in
the door of MSA. This will help
to create a strong party base and
in the fall, "The Moose" plans on

Conservatives: can't trust them *

running full slates of candidates
all around.
In the past, third parties have
surfaced, made ridiculous allega-
tions and claims, lost the election
and disbanded.
To the contrary, the Michigan
Moose Party intends to be more
than just a one-election novelty.
We feel that this end is better
achieved by gradually working
our way into it.
The Michigan Moose Party
wants student concerns and issues
at the forefront of MSA.
No, the Moose is not dead, and
will continue to live as long as the
concerns of the students are at
stake.
Chris Thompson
LSA sophomore

Moose Party is not dead

To the Daily:
I would like to point out a
couple of things to Mr. Mutch
and anyone else who is to be
taken in by yet another Conserva-
tive Coalition (CC) ploy to avoid
resposibility for problems cited in
their policy making and general
management of the Assembly
("Polk's real intentions revealed,"
3/2/92).
Ms. Polk was not "slandering
her fellow representatives."
Rather, she was trying to bring to
light some of the inherent
problems with an assembly who's
effectiveness has dropped below
that of Dan Quayle' s.
If conservatives like yourself
would be brave enough to address
issues, maybe University students
wouldn't be hobbled with such a
poor government.
As to the only other point I
would bother to address from Mr.
Mutch's whining: "Amy Polk's
use of the Daily to slander ... can
not be ignored." Mr. Mutch, I
would like to know how this

supposed slandering is all that
different from the regular lambast-
ing Ms. Polk and various other
left-wing Assembly members are
forced to endure every couple of
weeks in Mr. Muir's column in
The Michigan Review.
On the rest of your letter I need=
not comment as hopefully students
bright enough to attend the
University will be able to recog-
nize the uselessness of it all. I will
comment that you sum up your
letter by blatenly implying that
Ms. Polk's motivations are to
"win votes and damn the students"
but I would remind you that Ms.
Polk is graduating and is not up
for reelection.
You might have found this out
for yourself if you opened your
eyes and attempted to understand
the political happenings around
you, but then again that might be
asking a bit "Mutch" from
someone as blindly conservative
as yourself. - All I can say is good
luck to you and Quayle in the
years to come.
Tobias Zimmerman
RCsophmore

0

Editorial freedom denied

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bode proposathelps students

L ast month, the entire 33-person staff of the
Viterbo College student paper was fired after
publishing an advertisement for a local abortion
clinic. In addition to disscussing the clinic's abor-
tion and couseling services, the ad discussed the
benefits of using a condom and practicing safe sex.
William Medland, president of the a small pri-
vate Catholic college in LaCrosse, Wisconsin,
claimed that by publishing the ad, the newspaper
"shocked the sensibilities of many students, fac-
ulty, staff and administrators. Such journalism will
notbetolerated. It holds up to ridicule the Catholic,
Franciscan liberal arts nature of this institution."
The issue at stake is the value of the First
Amendment, namely freedom of speech and free-
dom of the press.
The decision that Medland made, to fire every
" student on the newspaper, was not illegal, nor is it
unconstitutional. Viterbo is a private college and
thus can maintain complete control over every
letter that the student newspaper prints. However,
what Medland did was immoral and is in violation

of the spirit of the First Amendment, an ideal as
valuble as the amendment itself. Just because
Medland had the authority to fire the staff of the
newspaper does not mean he should have done it.
If a newspaer cannot print anything it sees fit, then
its ability to deliver the news truthfully and frankly
is threatened. The paper becomes a mouthpiece for
the people or organization that has the authority to
shut it down. Information is self-censored and
becomes selective. The truth becomes subject to
those who fund the paper, not to the evidence
unearthed through impartial investigation.
Publication of the paper will resume when the
staff is rebuilt. Any member of the old staff may
return if they agree to abide by the new guidelines,
which forbid printing obscenity, pornography or
anything showing disrespect for the school's Catho-
lic character.
Freedom of speech and the freedom of the press
are essential. Althought this ideal can only legally
be enforced in the public sector, its value should be
appreciated by private institutions as well.

by Michael Warren, Jr.
I appreciate the generally
supportive opinion page article
"No code is a good code," that
adressed the Student Rights
Commission's (SRC) proposed
Code, which hopefully will soon
replace the University's unconsti-
tutional Interim Speech Code.
Yet, comment is necessary to
clarify the nature of the Proposal
-authored by Peter Mooney and
myself.
The proposal is an absolute
guarantor of students' freedom of
expression. The preamble states in
part: "The University unequivo-
cally reaffirms its commitment to
the values of free expression. The
freedoms of speech, press,
petition, association and assembly
are the foundation of our democ-
racy. Robust, vigorous and
unbridled debate is the oxygen of
America's experiment in self-
government.
The principles of the First
Amendment are necessary
preconditions to protecting the
rights of the minority, for without
the shield of the Constitution, the
majority would become the sole
arbiter of truth."
Section I of the proposal

these freedoms imposed in the
'Interim Policy on Discriminatory
Conduct' are hereby repealed."
Thus Section I will be a great
victory for students' rights, as it
eliminates the Interim Policy's
unconstitutional regulation of
speech. Historically the Univer-
sity punished hundreds for
exercising free speech-Section I
prohibits that censorship.
Moreover, the University had
been considering expanding
speech regulation on campus. The
SRC shifted the focus away from
speech restrictions and toward
speech protection.
Similarly, the proposal
protects and increases students'
rights regarding conduct regula-
tion. Under the Interim Policy, all
"discriminatory behavior" is
regulated - from student groups'
membership policies to dating.
Section II bars activity only if
a "person on campus (1) acts
maliciously and with specific
intent to intimidate and harass
another (a) because of that
person's race, age, ancestry,
disability, ethnicity, religion,
gender, sexual orientation, or
national origin, and (b) intention-
ally causes physical injury to that
nrmn."r~

violence regulation is legal and
done by nearly all universities,
and the University currently does
so under the Interim Policy.
Again, the SRC shifted the
University vision of increased
conduct behavior in favor of
narrowing conduct regulation.
Hence, the significant reduction of
conduct regulation will undeni-
ably be a substantial victory for
students' rights.
The proposal also significantly
increases due process protections
as compared to the Interim Policy
and other universities by mandat-
ing both constitutional safeguards,
as well as additional protections.
For instance, the proposal
eliminates the current kangaroo
court with a panel of six students,
who are chosen like a jury, and a
judge from the law school faculty.
The. right to confront witnesses,
and the bar against self-incrimina-
tion are added, as well as many
other procedural protections. It
also mandates quick notice to an
accused and public access to all
records.
The Daily criticized the clear
and convincing standard which the
panel uses, yet this is a much
higher standard than typically

01

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Nuts and Bolts
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by Judd Winick
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